Moss playing nice, at least right now

  • Updated: May 23, 2012 - 9:47 PM

It is late May, and Moss -- out of retirement with the 49ers and perhaps working on his last chance as a 35-year-old receiver with baggage -- is in "Good Randy" mode right now.

Randy Moss ran with the ball in front of receiver Michael Crabtree during the San Francisco 49ers practice Thursday. Moss has been on his best behavior since joining the 49ers, but then again, we’ve seen that before, and then ...

Photo: Paul Sakuma, Associated Press

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Randy Moss is the Great Chameleon. Name a player who changes to fit his surroundings -- for better or worse -- more than Moss. When the Vikings were riding high, there was no better guy to have on the team than Moss. When seasons or games went sour for the Vikings or another of his teams, there was nobody worse.

It is late May, and Moss -- out of retirement with the 49ers and perhaps working on his last chance as a 35-year-old receiver with baggage -- is in "Good Randy" mode right now.

"In the classroom he sits in the front row, he soaks up the knowledge and always gives the feedback, too," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh told SI.com. "His attendance has been impeccable. ... He's like a coach."

Added Kyle Williams, the San Francisco receiver whose NFC title game fumbles played a major role in keeping the 49ers out the Super Bowl and might have contributed to the Moss signing: "He's a savvy vet. If you can't learn something from somebody like that, you're not paying attention."

When have we heard things like that before? Ah, yes. It was early October in 2010, when Moss made his triumphant-at-the-time return to the Vikings.

"I never imagined playing with [Brett] Favre, and it's happened," Vikings running back Adrian Peterson said. "And now Randy Moss, my favorite receiver, the best in the game. I feel like a kid in a candy store."

Less than a month later -- after a bizarre post-game speech, a tirade directed at a caterer and limited production -- Moss was cut. The debacle cost the Vikings a third-round pick and helped cost Brad Childress his job.

The stakes are probably lower for Harbaugh and the 49ers, who can axe Moss at the first sign of trouble without too much of a ripple. Still, it's a good time for the new buyer to beware of what could loom ahead.

"He's one of those guys who leads by example," Williams told SI.com.

Exactly.

MICHAEL RAND

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